Dan Klein is a retired Albuquerque Police Sergeant after 20 years of public service. He has been a small business owner in the private sector now for 15 years. Mr. Klein has been a reporter for both on line news outlets the ALB Free Press and ABQ Reports.
On November 25, 2019, the following article written by Dan Klein, with introductory bullet talking points was published by ABQ Report:
“The same old BS: Keller and Geier want more money to fight crime. How about real cops?
– More data isn’t going to reduce crime. Neither is more money.
– Albuquerque citizens, your leaders are out of ideas, so they fall back on the old standby: give us more of your money and we promise to make you safe. Aren’t we tired of this yet?
– Tim Keller and Mike Geier and Raul Torrez can have all the stats and data that they want, but crime will not go down until officers do police work. Crime will not go down until detectives do solid investigation and then follow up with ten-day cases. Crime will not go down until the DA stops making excuses and starts doing speedy trials and gets convictions.
– Detectives live in courtrooms and that is where you convict bad people of crimes. SWAT guys live in front of mirrors, admiring themselves.
– Albuquerque needs a police chief like Bob Stover, who understood that citizens don’t give a damn about having coffee with a cop. Or having the worthless Horse Patrol poop all over their neighborhood the day after a homicide has occurred.”
“Albuquerque is having more murders. Crime is out of control. APD is spending more time and man-hours policing themselves than policing our neighborhoods.
What does our police chief, mayor and district attorney say they need to correct this problem? Their answer to Albuquerque crime woes is more of your money to buy more technology.
Albuquerque citizens, your leaders are out of ideas, so they fall back on the old standby: give us more of your money and we promise to make you safe. Aren’t we tired of this yet?
It was nice to see Keller, Geier and Torrez not blaming the courts and the new pretrial release program for crime. After the University of New Mexico study which showed very few people released pending trial are reoffending, their standby finger-pointing excuse was blown out of the water.
KOAT-TV recently interviewed retired Albuquerque Police Chief Joe Polisar regarding the crime epidemic in our community. He was not very happy with the current state of our city. Polisar was right to demand an end to the DOJ consent decree. We need more officers patrolling our streets, not patrolling each other.
Let me tell you a story that explains why we don’t need to toss more money at the crime problem for more data resources. APD already has the data, they just don’t have cops in the right places to use it.
It’s 1986, and Polisar oversees the new Repeat Offenders Project (ROP). This was when you had to be a detective, not a SWAT wannabe, to be in this unit. This is an important distinction because detectives live in courtrooms and that is where you convict bad people of crimes. SWAT guys live in front of mirrors, admiring themselves, but I digress.
I was one of eight ROP detectives sitting in our office in the basement of the main police station when Polisar walks in, hands everyone a mugshot of a burglar that is tearing up city and says, “I want this bastard in jail, talk to your CI’s (confidential informants) and get it done.” The APD Burglary Unit (APD no longer has a Burglary Unit, let that sink in) had identified this burglar as a criminal who was doing dozens of burglaries every week.
I had started working with an informant that a field officer had turned over to me (no technology here, just street cops and detectives working together), he was a twice convicted murderer, but a pretty nice guy. My partner and I picked him up and showed him the picture of the burglar and the last known location where he was living. The CI had us drop him off on that part of Central and he said he would be in touch later.
Three hours later I get a page (remember it’s 1986) from my informant. He asks if I would like to buy some guns from a friend of his (the burglar).
Within 48 hours we had bought guns from our burglar. The guns came from a burglary that had happened a day before. We arrested him the next morning. We did a ten-day case on him so the DA and judges could keep him in custody. Within months his case was over, and he was convicted and off to prison.
Remember all of this was done long before the computer age that we now live in. It was typewriters and word processors. We did our data research by hand, thumbing through thousands of rap sheets to figure out who was likely to reoffend, and we had a safer city.
Several months later Polisar comes into our office and announces that burglaries are down almost 10 percent.
Tim Keller and Mike Geier and Raul Torrez can have all the stats and data that they want, but crime will not go down until officers do police work. Crime will not go down until detectives do solid investigation and then follow up with ten-day cases. Crime will not go down until the DA stops making excuses and starts doing speedy trials (Fabian Gonzales in jail for 3 years and 3 months without trial!) and gets convictions.
Albuquerque needs a police chief like Bob Stover, who understood that citizens don’t give a damn about having coffee with a cop. Or having the worthless Horse Patrol poop all over their neighborhood the day after a homicide has occurred. That’s all “feel good bullshit” that doesn’t make you safer. Our police officers shouldn’t be tasked with holding hands and telling you it’s going to be OK. Our police officers should be working hard to prevent crime and respond to it EFFECTIVELY when it does occur. We don’t need more data and technology for that. We don’t need more money tossed at this problem, Albuquerque already has at least two public safety taxes. It’s a leadership issue.
Albuquerque needs a DA like Bob Schwartz, who will stand on the courthouse steps and take responsibility as the chief law enforcement officer in the county. Schwartz was a DA that promised to free the innocent and convict the guilty in a timely manner. We don’t need more money and technology for this. Speaking of money, where are the millions that the legislature gave Torrez a couple years ago? Someone in Santa Fe should be demanding an accounting of our money. John Arthur Smith didn’t you promise to hold Torrez feet to the fire? Light the match.
Albuquerque needs a mayor like Marty Chavez was during his first term in the mid-1990s. He had a vision of a crime-free city. He could be a real ass because he held people under him accountable. Accountability, not more money and PR, is what this city needs to fight crime.
It’s like the current police leadership is clueless on how to be a cop. They don’t think blood in a 7 year- old girls’ underwear is any cause for concern. They want more data, but they don’t have a clue what to do with it. It’s a DA who doesn’t know what “speedy trial” means and is all too gleeful to fraudulently blame the new bonding system for his failures. It’s a mayor who has surrounded himself with clueless advisers when it comes to law enforcement.
Don’t believe me. Just watch the video where Geier and Keller sit silently while an APD PIO explains that blood in a child’s underwear is not a cause for concern. That is somehow violates search and seizure laws. It doesn’t, yet our leaders sat silent while this BS was pumped out to the community.
We don’t need more data; we need a police chief and a district attorney who know how to be law enforcement professionals. We need a mayor who starts firing people who aren’t getting the job done. Until that time crime will continue to pillage Albuquerque and the finger pointing and demand for more money will never stop.”
The link to the Dan Klein article on ABQReport is here:
ANOTHER PRESS CONFERENCE, ANOTHER PLEA FOR FUNDING
On December 2 Mayor Keller held a press conference to reveal his legislative priorities for the upcoming 2020 New Mexico Legislative session that starts in January. Keller said his top priority will again be public safety and made a pitch for money from the legislature to update the city’s crime fighting technology. His requests include $10 million for his violence intervention programs and $20 million for modernizing crime fighting technology.
In addressing the city’s violent crime rates Keller said:
“Violent crime is still Albuquerque’s biggest challenge, and New Mexico’s biggest challenge, even as we have made strides fighting other crimes like auto theft and robbery … We’re facing that reality with evidence-based violence reduction and tough on crime policing, and with the State’s help we can take another step towards making New Mexico’s largest metro area safer. … For us, we know that the pain and the violence that we’ve seen, one we have to acknowledge that this has been with us a long time, and what we are going to do is everything we can to try and do something about it.”
The breakdown of the $20 million ask by Mayor Keller to bring Albuquerque’s crime-fighting technology up to date includes:
$13 million for CAD / Records Management System;
$1.2 million for Video Management Software;
$2.5 million for Crime Scene Response, including a new crime scene bus;
$1.2 million to update the Laboratory Information Management System;
$250,000 in upgrades to the Evidence Warehouse;
$810,000 for Latent Fingerprint Section improvement;
$320,000 for Automated License Plate Readers;
$150,000 for Firearms & Toolmarks Technology;
$370,000 to upgrade DNA equipment; and
$100,000 for a ballistic water tank replacement.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Mayor Keller’s goal is to spend $88 million dollars starting last year in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, over a four-year period, with 32 million dollars of recurring expenditures, to hire 322 sworn officers and expand APD from 878 sworn police officers to 1,200 officers. The massive investment is being done in order to full fill Mayor Tim Keller’s 2017 campaign promise to increase the size of APD and return to community-based policing as a means to reduce the city’s high crime rates. Last year’s 2018-2019 fiscal year budget provided for increasing APD funding from 1,000 sworn police to 1,040. This year’s 2019-2020 fiscal year budget has funding for 1,040 sworn police.
Mayor Keller has essentially been given everything he has wanted for public safety and then some. Keller is now asking for $20 million more from the Governor and the New Mexico legislature to “modernize” the police department records keeping. The request is being made 18 months after Keller signed into law a gross receipt increase enacted by the city council that raised gross receipts taxes by $60 million a year and breaking his promise not to raise taxes, even for public safety, without a public vote. It also comes after a mere seven months after the City announced in April a onetime $34.4 million dollar windfall, called an “orphan month”, as a result of a change in accounting policy to align the city finances and accounting practices with state government financing and nearly all other governmental entities. It also comes two months after Keller submitted a $29 million dollar lodger’s tax and the City Council approved on October 7 a $30.5 million “Sports -Tourism” lodger tax package on a unanimous vote to upgrade and build sports facilities throughout the city.
During a November 5 election night radio interview, Tim Keller made it known he is running for a second term in 2021. It is painfully obvious with 72 murders this year and counting, Keller’s policies have not had much of an effect. As the shootings, assaults and killings continue to rise, Keller is focused on the gun violence and the city’s murder rates, but time is running out for him despite all of his efforts. The City’s crime rates and APD will once again be a defining issue in the 2021 race for Mayor.
For a related blog article see: